Saturday, January 13, 2018

Viewing Eagles At Petenwell Dam

Last August my husband and I took a day trip to Lake Petenwell.  It was our 49th wedding anniversary, and we didn't have anything in particular planned.  We decided to take a trip to the Petenwell Dam.  We had heard it was a great place to view eagles.  We were familiar with the area because it was next to Castle Rock Lake which was the site of our camping fiasco.  Anyone who knows us, knows how that turned out. 

For those who don't know how it turned out, you can read the blog post above and pretty much guess.  We sold the darn thing.  We were very lucky to sell it quickly and that was the end of my camping experiences.  

Petenwell Lake is a big man made lake in central Wisconsin.  It is the second largest body of water in Wisconsin and was created by the Wisconsin River Power Company in the late 1940's.  The power company built a Hydroelectric Dam on the Wisconsin River forming the lake.  South of the Petenwell Dam is another dam which formed Castle Rock Lake which is the 4th largest lake in Wisconsin.   

Our day trip last summer was very nice.  The area around the dam is beautiful.  There is a tower near the dam built for viewing the eagles.  We climbed the tower and got a good view the river and the dam.  We walked around seeing people fishing and boating, but we didn't see any eagles.

This is the dam.  You can see the Lake on top and the River below.

Even though we didn't see any eagles, we had a great day exploring the area, but we promised ourselves we would return one day to try again.  When we left the area, we saw this sign.  It explains that the best time for viewing eagles is November to March.

So today we decided to take another drive.  It was a nice sunny day, and we ignored the fact that it was 5 degrees outside.  We took our heavy winter coats, hats, gloves and of course my camera.  It took a good hour to get there, but when we did it was so worth it.  There were a lot of eagles fishing, flying around and sitting in trees.  There were two guys with huge lens on their cameras taking photos.  It made my little camera look like a toy.  They didn't talk much, but they did say they had been there since sunrise.  It was about noon at that point. 

This is the winter view of the dam with ice formed.

At the edge of the parking lot sat these two eagles.  The one on the right looks like a young one.

Eagles have to be six years old before they mature and get the white head and tail feathers.

I believe this is a younger immature eagle who hasn't achieved the white markings.

As I stood there, two more flew into the trees.

Looking across the river to the other side, I could see more eagles sitting in the trees.

It's hard to get an action shot, but here the eagle has caught a fish.  I wonder if the professional got a shot of this.

It was an awesome day, but we didn't stay long.  We were prepared for the cold temperatures except for our feet.  We didn't have boots on and our feet got cold.  Fortunately there wasn't much wind or it could have been worse.  We stopped at a local restaurant and Ray's Closeout store.  Later we picked up a few groceries and got some gas before returning home.  I can't wait to go back.  We will wait until the temperatures warm up a little or make sure we are covered from head to foot. 

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